bears and more • Klaus Pommerenke
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9. Januar 2016
Teal Jones Group setzt Kahlschläge ökologisch einzigartiger Urwälder im Walbran Valley auf Vancouver Island fort
Die Teal Jones Group, ein Forstkonzern mit Sitz in Surrey nahe Vancouver, der hauptsächlich Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Sitka Spruce und Western Red Cedar Produkte vertreibt, darf mit seinen Kahlschlägen uralter Wälder im Walbran Valley auf Vancouver Island trotz aller Proteste fortfahren. Die Provinzregierung von BC hält an der Genehmigung für die Kahlschläge fest und jetzt limitierte der BC Supreme Court sogar den Zugang der Öffentlichkeit zu den Forstoperationen, damit die Kahlschläge ungehindert und auch möglichst abgeschirmt von Umweltschützern, Fotografen und Protestierern durchgeführt werden können.
„Old-growth logging in the Walbran continues“, lautete die Mitteilung des Sierra Club BC vom 6. Januar 2016 von Anna Kemp, die nachfolgend für Sie wiedergegeben ist: „On January 4, logging company Teal Jones went to court and gained a new injunction to keep concerned citizens out of the Walbran Valley until March 31, 2016. Protests for protection of the Walbran intensified in the fall of 2015 after the B.C. government awarded the first of eight logging permits for the most contentious unprotected area, the 485 hectare Castle Grove in the heart of the valley.
Activists, Sierra Club BC, other environmental groups, tourism operators, municipalities and thousands of citizens have since raised their voice calling on the provincial government to revoke permission to log in this area, add the Castle Grove Area to the protected area and phase out old-growth logging on Vancouver Island. …
In December, Teal Jones announced that the company has ‘no immediate plans to harvest block 4424, nor are there immediate plans to proceed with other cut blocks within ‘the bite’’ (the Castle Grove Area is often referred to as the ‘bite’). However, this didn’t stop the company from seeking an injunction until September 2016 to continue old-growth logging in the Walbran Valley while keeping concerned citizens out of the area. Intact old-growth areas, like the Walbran, are significant because they remain covered by at least 70 per cent ‘big-tree’ old-growth. Due to decades of logging, this is a rarity on Vancouver Island. Once logged, old-growth is gone forever. These areas serve to defend species diversity, produce and protect clean air and water, and as an important outdoor destination. Most importantly, old-growth rainforests like those found in the Walbran Valley, are the world’s most efficient carbon sink. These towering trees have the highest carbon storage per hectare on the planet, if they remain intact. Clearcutting them releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
A recent Sierra Club BC report revealed that, over the past two decades, B.C.’s forests as a whole have shifted to being net emitters of carbon. This contrasts starkly to their historic role capturing huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and is due, in large part, to irresponsible logging practices and poor forest management. Sierra Club BC is calling for a provincial government action plan to protect and restore B.C.’s forests in light of climate change impacts. Focus should be placed on conservation and restoration of endangered rainforest ecosystems on Vancouver Island and the south coast, which have been found relatively resilient to climate impacts in their intact state. B.C.’s forest industry must shift to harvesting sustainable levels of second growth forest and value-added manufacturing.”
Neuer Kahlschlag im Walbran © Sierra Club BC, Mark Worthing
Details zur gerichtlichen Verfügung zum Schutz der Kahlschlagsaktivitäten von Teal Jones nennt das Wilderness Committee: „… The injunction now includes 50-metre ‘bubble zones’, which limit public access in areas around logging activity, equipment and work crews. The Wilderness Committee feels that this is meant to discourage members of the public from witnessing the logging of these ancient forests, taking photographs and engaging in other lawful activities. ‘Teal Jones knows that it’s on the wrong side of public opinion by cutting down thousand-year-old trees,’ said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. ‘This injunction might scare people away from going to the Walbran Valley to see the ancient forest, and it could chill public discussion about the logging and civil disobedience that has been occurring in the area.’
The Wilderness Committee – represented in court by Ecojustice – didn’t attempt to have the injunction rejected but sought to limit its length and scope. The Wilderness Committee only participates in lawful activities, which aren’t prohibited under the injunction. The organization plans to increase its work to protect the Walbran. ‘We’ll continue to monitor the Valley, take photographs and bring people in to see this world-class ecosystem up close,’ Coste explained. ‘Teal Jones’ own lawyers told the court there is nothing wrong with citizens being in the Walbran in accordance with the injunction, so we encourage people to get up there, conduct themselves lawfully and witness what’s happening.’
Teal Jones began logging in the area in November 2015, and received its first of four injunctions on November 24th. Yesterday was the company’s second failed attempt to extend the injunction to mid-September. ‘As recent reports show, changes the BC government made to forestry laws largely hand control of BC’s forests to logging companies,’ said Devon Page, Executive Director of Ecojustice. ‘If the government doesn’t fulfill its obligation to steward our forests, the public must, and this case is about us defending the right of the public to do just that.’
Since learning of Teal Jones’ plans to target the Central Walbran in May 2015, the Wilderness Committee has visited the valley regularly to document the rare ancient forest and monitor logging activity, and has launched a public awareness campaign for the protection of the Walbran. ‘This court battle has only come about because of the complete lack of leadership from our provincial government,’ said Coste. ‘We need a legislated solution to this crisis and the Minister of Forests simply can’t continue to disregard the destruction of BC’s old-growth forests.’
So far, Premier Christy Clark, Forest Minister Steve Thomson and Environment Minister Mary Polak have ignored over 7,000 letters from citizens asking them to protect the Walbran.
The Central Walbran Valley is in the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation.”
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